For the leisure industry, focusing on marketing and branding activities has never been more important
Most leisure providers put marketing and branding at the bottom of their to-do list, especially at the moment, when the pandemic demands so much of every business. They can be considered non-essential overheads. But let’s take a closer look at exactly how these actions can not only boost revenue but also increase member satisfaction and loyalty.
The ‘New Normal’ is the phrase of the day with several industry bodies and professionals looking at what this means in reality. One thing for certain is that this will involve substantially reduced capacity for most. Those who have been ‘fleet of foot’ to bring in changes, where possible, will find themselves with a more sustainable business model, but one thing is clear – digitalisation features heavily in the success stories.
How do we know what to do?
Before you undertake any kind of marketing or branding projects for your leisure business, you need to think about the who, what, where, when and why. These things will help shape your actions and the activities you pursue.
- Seasonality – What time of year are you running your campaign? January is always a prime time for people wanting to get fit, relax or change their well-being habits. Do take the pandemic changes into account though – is July the new January? What are people’s motivators now that they’re not focusing on getting ‘bikini-ready’ for a summer abroad.
- Customer Sentiment – Understanding and use this as the core of your future focus and strategy. You can send surveys to your members to gain this feedback but make sure they’re relevant and targeted. Go through the results with a fine tooth-comb and ask yourself the hard questions like “Why are they leaving?” or “Are they struggling to use new digital services”?
- Consumer confidence – Think about how you can instil this within your members. Think about offering flexible cancellation policies or hybrid virtual/physical models.
- Your audience – Make sure you’ve researched your target demographic and have nailed down your brand messaging and price points. You can’t be all things to all people, but you can be exactly the right option for your core market.
Where do we start with marketing or branding?
There are so many different paths to take when it comes to promoting your brand and services. So whether you work with an influencer to promote your services via their social media platforms or run a referral scheme that encourages people to help increase sign-ups by offering them an incentive, there are plenty of ways you can get going with activities.
We’ve put together a few ideas for you to get you started:
- Leisure influencers – Make sure you set up a tracking link or unique discount code for any campaign you run with an influencer. This way you can really see what the return on investment is.
- Paid social media advertising – Social media campaigns come with great tracking capabilities nowadays, which allow you increase revenue and prove return on investment.
- PPC (Pay-per-click) – This gives you the ability to target keywords and phrases, as well as tracking the results.
- Referral schemes – One of the most revered ways to encourage a sustainable revenue stream. Getting your own customers to refer people to you with an incentive, means you don’t have to do as much of the leg work, whilst also gaining valuable feedback about your most passionate members.
- Loyalty programmes – Reward your members with freebies or discounts, for coming back time and time again, perhaps by using stickers, stamps or even a more modern digital passport. These are all things you can track too, which helps with forward planning for budgets.
- Ask for reviews on social platforms such as Facebook, as well as TrustPilot, which comes integrated with every fibodo account – Encouraging this kind of loyalty from your current members ensures your brand will score highly with potential new customers.
What kind of promotions should we be running on social media?
When it comes to social, you have to remember that a lot of people like to get something for free – it’s just the way the world works. But if you can leverage that to your advantage, you can increase sign-ups, boost customer loyalty and brand awareness all at the same time. Here are just a few of the ideas we came up with for promotions you could run on social media:
- Free trials
- Personal training
- Competitions with prizes
- Discount codes
Remember to use freebies in a targeted manner. There’s no point offering things out if you’re not going to get something in return for it, whether it’s exposure, greater brand awareness or increased revenue.
How do I start branding my fitness business?
Brand awareness is a term, dreamt up by marketers that describe the degree of consumer recognition of a product by its name. Look at big brands such as Nike, Apple, and Starbucks for example, or GymShark and Underarmour – when you see their logo you know right away what company that logo is associated with: this is brand awareness.
- Invest in a great logo, choose a colour scheme and define your purpose
- Have a great website that’s functional and inspirational
- Build your social media presence – it takes time so get started as soon as you can
- Partner with other brands for cross-promotion
- If you sell products, make sure your logo is clearly visible on them
Digital products and services are set to rocket now – the market is flooded with new products that will help minimise contact; from booking systems right through to enabling payments to be collected digitally to minimise cash handling! Our advice is to embrace this new technology as it will be fundamental to moving forward responsibly as well as ensuring your business begins to flourish once more.
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